Subject: PEACE IS WELCOME: OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT DUTERTE

May 19, 2016

H. E. Rodrigo Duterte
President Elect
Republic of The Philippines

Dear President Rody,

We congratulate you for a resounding leadership mandate from the
voting population of our country. Your commitment to address the roots
or armed conflicts in our nation through peace negotiations and to
correct the historical injustices committed against the Moro people is
commendable. Addressing the situation of different communities, Moro,
Christian, non-Christian and Lumad specially as the Lumad suffer
forcible displacement and urgently clamor for an end to militarization
and the disbanding of paramilitaries in their ancestral landsis
imperative. Prospects for peace throughout the nation are rising and
we are excited and energized by your very positive pronouncements on
resuming peace talks.

Pilgrims for Peace is a multi-sectoral alliance of advocates for a
just and lasting peace based on freedom, democracy, and social
justice. Pilgrims appreciates that in your campaign platform you
prioritized peace, in general, as well as explicitly outlined your
openness to concrete steps in moving the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations
forward. Your appointment of Jesus Dureza as peace adviser and
Silvestre Bello as chief negotiator with the National Democratic Front
underscores your resolve.

We encourage you to place the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations on firm
footing by respecting previously signed agreements and continue
forward with the substantive agenda outlined in The Hague Joint
Declaration. Not only do we affirm the value of the Comprehensive
Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in our justice, peace and human rights
advocacy, peace advocates have been preparing themselves to support
the crafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms
(CASER) and look forward to its fruition.

We are heartened of your willingness to release all political
prisoners. Even during your campaign, we noted that your new
government would review their status and release those necessary for
the NDFP negotiating panel; we affirm that such action will be greatly
beneficial, if not essential, to successful peace negotiations. This
can also bring to good order and re-operationalize the Joint Agreement
on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Even more, your action to
release political prisoners on humanitarian grounds would surely go a
long way as a confidence-building measure.

With anticipation for what is to come, we are revving up our network
of peace advocates to contribute in the work of peace-building. Our
people understand the need to address the roots of armed conflict in
building a just and enduring peace. We hope that with your presidency,
we can also contribute to creating and focusing energy around the
peace talks.

Sincerely yours,

PILGRIMS FOR PEACE
(Signed by Convenors)
Bishop Deogracias IƱiguez, Ecumenical Bishops Forum
Bishop Arturo Asi, United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Rev. Rex RB Reyes, National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Rev. Ramil Aguilar, Iglesia Filipina Independiente
Dr. Carol Araullo, BAYAN
Raymond Palatino, BAYAN Metro Manila
Antonio L. Flores, Kilusang Magbubukid Pilipinas
Priscila S. Ang-Maniquiz, Kilusang Mayo Uno
Nedy Gonzaga Jadie, Kilusang Mayo Uno
Nenita T. Gonzaga-KMU Women
Gertrudes Libang, Gabriela
Mic Catuira, Migrante International
Bea Arellano, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap
Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez, National Union of Peoples Lawyers
Ferdinand R. Gaite, Courage
France Castro, Association of Concerned Teachers
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan
Dayling Java, Moro Christian Peoples Alliance
Nardy Sabino, Promotion of Church Peoples Response
Rey Casambre, Philippine Peace Center
Daisy S. Arago, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
Dr. Anie Bautista, EcuVoice
Rev. Joel B. Bayot, UCCP South Luzon Jurisdiction
Rev. Patrick R. McDivith, UCCP South Luzon Jurisdiction
Norma Dollaga, Kasimbayan

Interviews may be arranged through Media Liaison Rebecca Lawson
0928-385-4123

Pilgrims for Peace, 879 EDSA, 3rd Floor, NCCP, West Triangle, Quezon City
We work for peace that is based based on justice. Peace where there is
freedom, democracy and social justice. – Pilgrims for Peace